Hailey's Notebook: What stood out after re-watching Washington vs. Tampa Bay

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Hailey's Notebook: What stood out after WFT vs. Tampa re-watch originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Pete Hailey is not a current or former NFL player, nor is he a current or former NFL coach. He is a reporter. Therefore, this space won't be used to closely analyze scheme or assign blame on coverage breakdowns or anything like that related to the Washington Football Team, because those things are hard to discern without knowing the design of and plan for a given play.

That said, he does cover Washington on a day-to-day basis, meaning he can (hopefully) pass along helpful observations after re-watching each of the franchise's games. So, here's what stood out to him from the Week 10 win over Tampa Bay:

  • Washington's tackling throughout the contest was outstanding. Cole Holcomb was key on many of Tom Brady's checkdowns to Leonard Fournette, as the linebacker would get the running back in his grasp and then wait for other defenders to knock him down. Kendall Fullerwho's been iffy at times with his angles and physicality, was much better on Sunday. Overall, the effort and discipline Washington showed when it came to limiting the Bucs' yards after catch was noticeable and it should be something they can replicate in the coming weeks. 

  • Holcomb wasn't just useful as a tackler. On Brady's second pick, Holcomb did a nice job dropping back into his zone in coverage, and his positioning put Brady in a spot where he had to be perfect on his throw to Mike Evans. The Hall of Famer wasn't, of course, which is why the ball ended in the hands of Bobby McCain. McCain praised Holcomb afterward for how Holcomb handled that particular sequence.

  • Though Taylor Heinicke's numbers may be a bit better than his actual performance — a few of the sacks he took were disappointing, and one pass to DeAndre Carter that could've easily been snagged by a Buccaneer somehow bounced right to Carter — he was a major part of the victory. In total, he connected with nine different Washington players and his touchdown throw to Carter was simply terrific. His brief track record indicates that he'll soon revert to more erratic quarterbacking, yet on Sunday, he was in control.

  • It might be time to give Jonathan Allen another contract extension on top of the one he just picked up this past offseason. Allen didn't notch a sack of Brady, but he did wallop him on the visitors' first possession and also broke through on the last snap of the third quarter to harass Brady and force a punt. He's so adept with his hands and Ron Rivera loves how Allen just "goes forward" with his pass rush. When No. 93 gets out of his stance, he often explodes straight ahead.

  • JD McKissic is more valuable than a window seat on an airplane. Here's just the latest example of the running back's usefulness: 

  • Think back to Washington's meetings with opponents like the Saints, the Chiefs, the Packers and the Broncos. What was one storyline that could be applied to all of those? Rivera's club wasn't able to grab wins despite those foes' mediocre, mistake-filled outings. This time, though, Tampa was sloppy and Washington made them pay. The Super Bowl champs had a false start on their first offensive play, jumped offsides three different times and were plagued by a couple of embarrassing drops. No wonder Brady was so grumpy afterward

  • John Bates was fortunate to have his fumble overturned, because that would've been a killer. However, once that's removed from his stat line, he did well in place of Ricky Seals-Jones, who exited with a hip injury. Bates tallied three receptions, one of which went for 18 yards, and he threw a key block on Antonio Gibson's game-sealing six-pointer: 

  • Dyami Brown was involved on just eight snaps Sunday and didn't see a single target. The third-round wideout was basically relegated to being a decoy on a few pre-snap jet motions. So far, he has 81 receiving yards in his rookie season.

  • Maybe — potentially, possibly, maybe? — Jamin Davis can be like Devin White in a couple of years. White was a complete nuisance against Washington and was responsible for 13 solo tackles and two sacks. Davis has a different body type, a different role and was drafted lower than White in the first round, but White does provide a model for Davis to aim for. Davis is slowly getting more sure of himself, but the impactful, momentum-shifting contributions still aren't there at all.

  • Gibson's work as a runner ought to be lauded, but it was a thrill to witness him be deployed as a wideout on a couple of reps, too. The second-year pro caught one third-down pass out of the slot, where he set up his man with a stutter step before darting across the middle. Then, on Washington's last march, he broke inside and corralled a contested floater from Heinicke. More of that please. 

  • Terry McLaurin's last catch was awesome because it was so different from what most expected he'd bring to the franchise when he was drafted back in 2019. The book on McLaurin was that he couldn't separate much and wasn't that reliable in contested situations. He's proven both of those critiques wrong time and time again and did so once more to get his offense closer to the goal line on Sunday: 

  • Lastly, Jack Del Rio's defense stood strong immediately after Chase Young's injury in the second quarter. Once Young limped off, Brady and his teammates had first down at the 8-yard line but couldn't breach the end zone. Keeping that group out, especially after the depressing scene that featured Young in so much pain, showed real toughness.